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Call for a new Norfolk memorial to Princess Diana

PUBLISHED: 16:37 30 August 2017 | UPDATED: 11:30 31 August 2017

June Wilson at The Princess Diana Memorial Rose Garden at Castle Gardens after it was tidied up by Norwich City Council contractors on August 30, 2017. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

June Wilson at The Princess Diana Memorial Rose Garden at Castle Gardens after it was tidied up by Norwich City Council contractors on August 30, 2017. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

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She was born on Norfolk’s Sandringham Estate and spent her early years at Riddlesworth Hall School in the county.

Rita Garrod in the Rose Garden Memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales, in the Castle Gardens before it was cleared by Norwich City Council. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYRita Garrod in the Rose Garden Memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales, in the Castle Gardens before it was cleared by Norwich City Council. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

But despite being admired by millions around the world, 20 years on from the death of Princess Diana, there is only one memorial to the beloved icon in the county.

A plaque for a commemorative rose garden in memory of Princess Diana was put in Norwich’s Castle Gardens after the tragedy.

White roses were paid for after mother and daughter, Patricia and Michelle Duvall, raised £1,500 through community donations.

A plaque was later put into the green space, now owned by Norwich City Council, close to the Castle Museum and Art Gallery.

Neville Sutton. Picture: FRAN NANTONGWENeville Sutton. Picture: FRAN NANTONGWE

But a lifelong Princess Diana fan and Norwich resident June Wilson, 68, from Brewers Court, said the area, cleared by a council contractor on Wednesday, August 30, was “continuously overgrown by weeds”.

She said: “What I would like to see is a decent memorial to Princess Diana in the city centre. There needs to be a place for people to lay flowers. She was Norfolk’s princess. People who liked her then won’t have forgotten about her today.

“She really cared about people and wanted to help them.”

The late Princess, who was killed in a car accident in Paris on August 31, 1997, was born at Park House on the Sandringham Estate.

Daniel Smith. Picture: FRAN NANTONGWEDaniel Smith. Picture: FRAN NANTONGWE

Ms Wilson, who wanted to start a petition to create another permanent memorial to Princess Diana, said an appropriate place could be Norwich Cathedral.

Another Norfolk resident Rita Garrod, 57, from Great Hockham, was “shocked and saddened” by the state of the Castle Gardens memorial rose garden during the August bank holiday weekend.

She believed Chapelfield Gardens could be a good spot for another memorial.

A city council spokesman said: “The garden area was given a tidy up as part of our regular maintenance programme just a few weeks ago but we agreed it was in need of further attention. It is important to maintain the dignity of memorials. A further spruce up to this area has been done as a matter of priority.”

Patrick Hall. Picture: FRAN NANTONGWEPatrick Hall. Picture: FRAN NANTONGWE

Support for a new memorial has come from Waveney MP Peter Aldous, who said: “Now is the time to celebrate her and the many causes she promoted.”

Pictures of Princess Diana in Norfolk will be in the Diana, our Norfolk Princess supplement in Saturday’s EDP.

What do Norwich people think about a new memorial?

People in Norwich were asked about whether there should be a new memorial to Princess Diana. Here are their responses:

Neville Sutton, 60, from Acle, proprietor of Sutton’s Taxis, said: “Yes, there should be a bigger memorial. Diana was born in Norfolk, she was a Norfolk girl. And we’ve only got a tiny memorial for her. People probably just walk past it, and don’t even look at it. But she changed our lives, and she changed the royal family. She was the face of the future. It was a tough time when she died. Perhaps the full outcome of the enquiry should now be made public.”

Daniel Smith, 33, from Norwich, said: “I think there should be a significant memorial for her. She was a public figure who did a lot for charity. If we’re going to spend money on war and weapons, we should also spend money on something worthwhile.”

Patrick Hall, a retired visitor from Lancashire, said: “There are more appropriate places where money should be spent. There are poor people out there, people without housing. They can never bring Princess Diana back. Things have moved on. It’s been and gone.”

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